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University Hospitals Conneaut and Geneva medical centers webcast surgeries live to local and regional health care trainee classrooms

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Integrated Camera System enables real-time surgeon/student interactivity

ASHTABULA COUNTY – In 2013, University Hospitals (UH) Conneaut and Geneva medical centers purchased an Integrated Camera System after receiving a grant from the Appalachian Region Commission (ARC). The advanced system is now being used to webcast surgical procedures in real time from the hospitals’ operating rooms to Ashtabula County and regional nursing students, midlevel providers and University Hospitals residents in training.

The ARC grant is part of a project designed to reduce the unemployment rate in rural communities like Ashtabula County through the enhancement of a formalized medical training curriculum. The Integrated Camera System strengthens the collaboration between UH Conneaut and Geneva medical centers and area institutions like Kent State University at Ashtabula and Lake Erie College. It also improves their ability to attract, train and retain individuals interested in pursuing a health care career.

“We want to make a difference in the quality of our students’ education,” says Robert G. David, President, UH Conneaut and Geneva medical centers. “That is our passion and our mission.”

The camera system provides classrooms with remote visual access to surgical areas at both hospitals. Students experience high-definition viewing of orthopaedic, OB/GYN, urologic and general surgical procedures. The system also includes integrated video conferencing that enables live interaction between students and surgeons.

“Our hospitals’ leadership discussed creating a new opportunity that would be innovative and revolutionize the way students observe surgery,” says Amitabh Goel, MD, FACS, Chief Medical Officer, UH Geneva Medical Center. “The equipment enables us to webcast detailed laparoscopic, endoscopic and open surgical procedures.” The advanced ENDOALPHATM camera system was installed in the UH Geneva Medical Center operating room earlier this year.

When the ARC grant was awarded, UH Conneaut and Geneva medical centers’ leadership began proposing to enhance the educational experience of health care trainees throughout Northeast Ohio with the new camera system. “We are grateful for the hospitals’ collaborative spirit and their dedication to educating our nursing students,” says Gail Bromley, PhD, RN, Associate Dean, Academics, College of Nursing, Kent State University. “We are currently reviewing measurable student clinical competencies as a result of this project.”

As students view more surgeries, the better prepared they will be after graduation to work in an operating room – ideally in a Northeast Ohio rural setting. “Our faculty and nursing students feel the webcasting is an exceptional experience,” says Jeremy Jarzembak, MA, BSN, BS, RN, Lecturer, Simulation Design and Development Coordinator, Kent State University. “It is professional, well organized, and it sets the bar very high for future programs like this.”

“Surgical experience in nursing school is fragmented,” says Dr. Goel, a general surgeon who simultaneously performs the procedures and narrates the webcasts. “This technology makes a difference by bringing the procedures into the classroom on a consistent basis. We are excited to offer this education locally, but we also have the capability to webcast to anywhere in the world.”

The Integrated Camera System is based at UH Geneva Medical Center, but it can be transported to UH Conneaut Medical Center’s operating room as required. “This technology marks a significant evolution in the way we offer clinical instruction,” says David. “It represents a very important win for the delivery of care and education in rural America.”

“In addition to offering nationally ranked quality of care and patient satisfaction, UH Conneaut and Geneva medical centers now offer the perfect learning environment to students in our region,” adds Dr. Goel.

The next webcast will be for University Hospitals integrated residents and is scheduled for Thursday, January 16. The surgery will be streamed live from UH Geneva Medical Center.

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